By Aldo Panessidi
Here’s something most of us don’t consider when choosing an app: how fast that app will use up our cell phone or tablet device battery power. Well, Purdue University researchers have put a lot of thought into it, and they aren’t going to stand for a wasteful Android app.
Researchers at Purdue have been demonstrating for awhile now how app design affects power usage. They’ve shown how some apps use huge amounts of energy just running ads. (In a previous report, they showed how Angry Birds uses 63% of its resources for peddling rather than propelling.) Now they've confirmed that lots of apps on Google Play have what they call serious "energy bugs." In other words, those apps that use Android's power control or wakelock APIs to prevent a phone going into sleep mode.
Purdue’s results show that the majority of developers use wakelocks correctly, but around 25% of them make mistakes in how they manage APIs. The effects on battery life are substantial. It can cause a fully-charged phone to drain "in as little as five hours."
Out of 187 wakelock-exploiting apps tested, 42 had errors. Next week’s report may list the offenders, but it is also expected to provide the means for a developer to easily check their work.